Video of UAE school bully ‘attacking’ classmate sparks outrage

A recent survey revealed that nearly a third of students in the UAE have suffered daily bullying. (File/Shutterstock)
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Updated 13 February 2020

Video of UAE school bully ‘attacking’ classmate sparks outrage

  • Girl can be heard threatening classmate while pulling her hair and swearing
  • Research revealed in 2019 one third of UAE students suffered daily bullying

DUBAI: The GEMS Education company, which recently announced a multimillion-dollar expansion into Saudi Arabia, has confirmed that a viral video that appears to show a bullying incident was filmed in one of its schools and that “appropriate action has been taken.”

The video has caused widespread upset and prompted social media influencers to condemn what many describe as disturbing images.

In the video that was widely shared on Twitter, a female student can be seen tugging on another girl’s hair before threatening her and dragging her around by her sweater.

It lasts nearly one minute and shows the girl forcibly pulling her victim’s hair. The victim then appears to cry before trying to walk away.

The other girl grabs her arm, telling the girl that she wants to talk to her.

As her victim sobs, the attacker tells her not to tell anyone about what has happened, adding “I will get really mad.”

It has not been revealed what provoked the attack.

In a statement a GEMS Education spokesman said: “We are aware of an earlier incident at one of our schools and can confirm that appropriate action has already been taken in accordance with our safeguarding policy. The school acted promptly to investigate and resolve the issue, and we will continue to prioritize the safety, security and well-being of all our students.”

Detailing actions the company is taking to combat bullying, a spokesperson added: “GEMS Education takes a zero-tolerance stance when it comes to all forms of bullying. The safety, security and well-being of each and every one of our students is an uncompromisable priority across all our schools.

“This is why we have a dedicated central Safeguarding Team, Safeguarding Leads and pastoral teams in every school, training for staff, as well as policies and procedures for addressing and resolving cases judiciously and effectively.”

School takes ‘necessary steps’

According to the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), which governs Dubai’s schools, the latest incident took place about a month ago — but the video went viral earlier this week after it was posted on Twitter on Sunday.

“The safety and well-being of all students at Dubai’s private schools is a top priority for us. Following an investigation into the incident, we can confirm the school has already taken necessary steps to resolve the matter,” a KHDA spokesman said.

“We want to reassure the community that our schools, educators and parents are committed to continue providing a safe, caring and positive learning environment to all students in Dubai.”

The video has sparked widespread outrage, with many calling for more action.

Parents ‘need to know their children’

Social influencer Karen Wazen, who has 2.4 million followers on her Instagram account, discussed the video and her concerns about bullying in a recent post.

“It was really disturbing to watch,” the concerned mother-of-three tells viewers. “But I think more importantly it was disturbing to actually accept the fact that this happens. This happens closer to home than you can imagine. This could happen to your children. Your children could also be the bullies.”

She said bullying was an important issue that needed to be addressed, and acknowledged that her own children could be exposed to bullying.

Wazen said it was important for children to feel they could be open with their parents.

Parents had a responsibility to know who their children mixed with, she said. Her post has received more than 102,400 likes.

 

One-third of UAE students suffer daily bullying

A recent survey by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development revealed that nearly a third of UAE students are bullied on a daily basis, while 31 percent are bullied a few times a month.

In July, 2019, the UAE Ministry of Education held a week of events aimed at combating bullying in the country.

In October, 2018 Saudi Arabia announced an $800 million, 10-year plan to build schools across the Kingdom in partnership with the UAE-based education company GEMS.

And in August, 2019, it was announced that Ma’arif Education and Training Company had been acquired by a joint venture involving GEMS Education KSA.

Ma’arif private schools was established in 1971 in Saudi Arabia and has more than 13 campuses across the Kingdom, with more than 20,000 students.


Clashes, tear gas in Beirut as protests turn to riots

Updated 12 min 10 sec ago

Clashes, tear gas in Beirut as protests turn to riots

  • Divisions among protesters over the goals of the demonstration quickly became apparent as groups of protesters faced off
  • Hundreds of Lebanese soldiers and riot police were deployed on major roads in the capital and its suburbs ahead of the protest

BEIRUT: Lebanese riot police fired tear gas at protesters in central Beirut on Saturday, after a planned anti-government demonstration quickly degenerated into rioting and stone-throwing confrontations between opposing camps.
A few thousand demonstrators had gathered in Martyrs' Square hoping to reboot nationwide protests that began late last year amid an unprecedented economic and financial crisis. But tensions and divisions among protesters over the goals of the demonstration quickly became apparent as groups of protesters faced off, with the army standing between them.
Scattered groups of protesters arrived in the capital's downtown area, only some of them wearing masks and face shields to protect against the spread of the coronavirus, in response to calls for a centralized protest to press for demands.
Lebanese rose up against their political leaders in nationwide mass protests on Oct. 17 amid a spiraling economic crisis, blaming them for decades of corruption and mismanagement. The protests, which further deepened the slump, eventually lost some momentum and later were put on hold after the outbreak of the pandemic.
The government has gradually begun easing a lockdown aimed at curbing the virus, and protesters have returned to the streets in small numbers in recent days. Saturday's protest was called for by grassroots organizations and civil society groups as well as several political parties, including some groups who have introduced for the first time demands for the Shiite militant group Hezbollah to disarm.
The participation of political groups and anti-Hezbollah slogans have upset some activists and protesters who say the focus should remain on addressing the country's economic crisis and calling for early elections.
Hundreds of Lebanese soldiers and riot police were deployed on major roads in the capital and its suburbs ahead of the protest. They later stood between supporters of Hezbollah and its allied Shiite Amal movement on one side and protesters on the other, some of whom shouted insults aimed at the Hezbollah leader, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.
The pro-Hezbollah side, some carrying yellow Hezbollah flags, chanted “Shia, Shia, Shia!”
Near the parliament building, a group of young men hurled rocks over cement barriers erected to seal off the area. Young men vandalized several storefronts, including a luxury French designer furniture company and a nearby hotel. Police responded with heavy tear gas.
The unprecedented economic crisis, nationwide protests and pandemic pose the biggest threat to stability since the end of the country’s civil war in 1990, and there are fears of a new slide into violence.
In recent weeks, the Lebanese pound, pegged to the dollar for more than two decades, has lost 60% of its value against the dollar and prices of basic goods soared. Unemployment has risen to 35% and an estimated 45% of the country’s population is now below the poverty line.